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Deals RoundUp: AskMe, Innov8, Ola, BigBasket, IntelleGrow, SoundCloud, Twitter, Elastifile, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Parcelled, GrabOnrent, CSCs, BBPOU, Info Edge and Kwality Ltd

Innov8 CoWorking, one of the country’s coolest co-working spaces,which had opened its first centre in Delhi October last year, has just marched into The City Beautiful – Chandigarh with its new centre.

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Ananda Krishnan Explores ways To Exit AskMe

Malaysian billionaire T Ananda Krishnan’s Astro Holdings, which owns 90% stake in Getit Infoservices, is reportedly exploring options to exit from AskMe, its hyper local businesses focused internet firm.The actual reasons for the step are not yet disclosed. The report was first cited by VCCircle. Recently, AskMe saw resignations from more than 650 employees amidst cash crunch and a monthly cash burn rate of more than $6 Mn. Most of the employees who were let go were in the annual salary bracket of INR 2.5 lakh-INR 6 lakh.

Innov8 CoWorking Marched into Chandigarh with Its New Centre

Innov8 CoWorking, one of the country’s coolest co-working spaces,which had opened its first centre in Delhi October last year, has just marched into The City Beautiful – Chandigarh with its new centre. Innov8 Chandigarh centre, located in the Ground Floor of City Emporium Mall, Sector 29 Chandigarh, is built on an area of 7,000 square feet and has a carpet area of 5,000 square feet. The centre can accommodate up to 140 people.

Ola To Raise Additional Funds for Its Expansion and To Beat Growing Competition

Ola, homegrown taxi aggregator, is looking to raise additional funds for its expansion and ward off growing competition. The brand has raised $1.2 billion from various investors so far. Uber, its primary rival, had raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund earlier this month of which a substantial portion is likely to be invested in India. Sources indicate that Ola has been looking to raise in the range of $500 million.

BigBasket Launches a New Business Vertical - Specialty Foods

Online grocer BigBasket is launching a new business vertical - specialty foods. The eCommerce company has been running a pilot for this line of business in Bengaluru even as it plans to take it to other major metro cities.

Aimed to shore up revenues, the new vertical will offer about 20-25% margin compared to thinner margins in the grocery business, a company executive claimed.

Venture Debt Financier IntelleGrow Bags Rs 134 Cr Funding

Venture debt financier IntelleGrow has raised Rs 134 crore in equity and long term debt from Triodos, Developing World Markets, Omidyar Network, Calvert Foundation and Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

The Mumbai-based firm is a lending platform for small and medium social enterprises.

Intellegrow is a registered non-banking financial company under impact investment advisory service firm Intellecap. It was launched in 2012 with support from the Shell Foundation.

Music Streaming Service SoundCloud Raises $70M from Twitter

Micro-blogging website Twitter has invested $70 million in popular music streaming service SoundCloud, as part of a round that should end up in the $100 million-range.

"We can confirm that Twitter has made an investment in SoundCloud. Both companies facilitate and inspire contemporary culture to happen in real time while reaching millions of people around the world," a SoundCloud spokesperson said.

Storage Firm Elastifile Gets $15M from Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems has invested $15 million in Israeli storage software start-up Elastifile, which helps enterprises scale out primary storage. This round is bringing Elastifile’s total investment this year to $50 million. The new funds would enable it to aggressively market its technology that enables customers to expand the number of applications they can deploy on flash.

In January the firm raised $35 million in a second private funding round led by existing investors Battery Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Ericsson and Nokia Begin Talks for 5G Technology

Telecom gear makers Ericsson and Nokia have initiated talks with Indian telcos and policy makers for possible engagements in fifth-generation (5G) technology. 5G is still in standardisation phase and is likely to be ready for commercial deployment in 2020.

Initial talks revolve around telcos' interest and preparedness for 5G, besides identification of relevant spectrum band to support it. Global executives from both vendors, known for their rivalry, have been in India recently for discussions with industry stakeholders with workshops and meetings.

Japanese Logistics Company Nippon Express in Talks to Buy 43% Stake in TVS Logistics

Japanese logistics company Nippon Express Co. Ltd is in talks to buy a stake of about 43% in TVS Logistics Services Ltd from existing private equity (PE) investors KKR and Co. Lp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The deal size is expected to be Rs.1,670 crore, valuing TVS Logistics at Rs.3,800 crore, as per DealStreetAsia report. The transaction will give KKR and Goldman an opportunity to exit in the backdrop of TVS Logistics delaying plans for an initial public offering (IPO) until next year

On Demand Logistics Services Provider Parcelled Stops Self Delivery

On-demand logistics services provider Parcelled has pivoted its business model, outsourcing its delivery services to third-party vendors, as per VCCircle report.

With this, the logistics services provider exits its core area of operations. It would now operate like an online booking agent, focusing on the technology platform only.

On Demand Rental Platform GrabOnRent Bags Funding From IvyCap And Unicorn

GrabOnrent, a Bangalore-based on demand product rental marketplace, has raised an undisclosed Pre-Series A round led byIvyCap Ventures and Unicorn India Ventures. The investment was done under IvyCap Ventures Trust Fund II.

The company plans to utilise the raised funds in product development and customer and vendor acquisition. Founded in September 2015 by three IIT-Guwahati graduates viz. Manish S. Sugandhi, Shubham Jain and Aditya Sharma, the startup helps users in renting products online such as furniture, appliances, cameras, adventure gear etc.

Common Service Centre Gets Approval from RBI for Bharat Bill Payment System

The CSCs eGovernance Service India has got in-principle approval from Reserve Bank of India for functioning as Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU). The RBI opened up the applications for BBPS a few months ago and a slew of companies ranging from banks, telecom operators and wallet firms applied for it. According to a press statement issued by the government, the license may take three months to become operational as it required integration with NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India).

Info Edge Picks Up Minority Stake in Two Startups 
Info Edge (India) Ltd, the parent company of and Zomato, has acquired minority stake in two startups–VCare Technologies, which offers phone directory app called Diro Labs; and Unnati Online Pvt Ltd, which runs a  platform called Unnati Helpers to hire domestic help. According to a stock market filing, Info Edge has invested Rs. 30 million (Around $447 million) through convertible preference shares to acquire a 11.5 per cent stake, on fully converted and diluted basis, in Vcare Technologies Pvt Ltd. It further said, it had invested  Rs. 40 million (around $596 million) through convertible preference shares for acquiring about 28.5% stake in Unnati Online Pvt Ltd.

Kwality Ltd Plans to Raise Up to $9M 
Dairy company Kwality Ltd‘s plan to raise up to Rs 60 crore (about $9 million) by way of preferential allotment of equity shares, convertible warrants and compulsory convertible debentures. The company will issue the shares/warrants/debentures to “persons/entities other than promoter group”, the company said in a stock market disclosure. It was recently reported that global private equity major, KKR India is set to invest about Rs.600 crore ($90 million) in Kwality Ltd.

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